When everything’s going against you…

I wrote about how difficult Marathon training had been so far the other week. Since then I got my head in gear and decided I was going to do it! But then life hasn’t been in my favour. January and the start of February was spent revising Maths for my Numeracy QTS Skills Test which was essential for me to pass in order for me to go to uni in September. So needless to say when opportunities arose I had to revise rather than run at times. It paid off and I passed on Monday. The plan was that this week was going to be a ‘on it’ marathon training week. And then on Monday I also got struck down with the virus my son has had. Body aches like the flu, high temperatures, sore throat, cough, headache – basically the lot. Its Wednesday and I am still feeling no better 😦 So this weeks training has gone out the window.

I am really starting to doubt the marathon now. I should be comfortably at 16 miles and I’m not even at 13 yet! The plan was that this marathon was going to be ‘the’ marathon. My last chance for a while to target that 5:30 goal that I have been desperate to hit for years. But a big part of me feels if that isn’t possible that I don’t love running enough to push through and do it anyway. I didn’t want to do it in the first place but I saw it through as I felt it was that one last chance. But it wasn’t because I was already running regularly. I wasn’t, I was going to the gym loads and doing pole but not running.

Last night when lying in bed feeling like my head was going to explode I decided that the goal is to manage 14 next Monday and then the planned runs on Wednesday and Friday and see where I am at after that. And then I will make a final decision.

Have to admit it isn’t looking favourable at the moment!

Things I have learnt from 3 marathons!

I’ve completed 3 marathons. I have a love hate relationship with them all.

  1. Edinburgh

I learnt gels do not work for me, throwing them all up at 13 miles was not a highlight!

I also learnt what overtraining can do, tired legs very early on. I paid for that overtraining!

That and going out too hard will come back to bite you! It did from about mile 15! Not fun when theres over 10 to go.

Oh and out and back is great on the going out section (if you’re a slow runner this is) but not so great on the coming back when there is no one else around. 

2. Brighton

Clif bars are lovely but after a while get really boring. As do Jelly babies. Variety is the spice of life when running 26.2 miles! 

Once again (I never learn) going out hard will bite you on the bum. I went out WAY too hard. I had a pace band on my wrist so there really was no excuse other than going – “Oh look I’m 20 minutes ahead, I could SMASH my target if I keep going”, I couldn’t and eventually that 20 minute advance got less and less until I was past that and watching my goal disappear. 

Having family to support you is awesome. I saw my Mum, best friend and my boys twice in the early stages, along with my Dad and then one of my other besties was EPIC at popping up at numerous points around the course, she covered some mileage herself! It made a huge difference compared to Edinburgh where I’d had no one.

Play a mental game with the out and back, note what order you see your friends, make note when that order changes! Tick them off as you see them! Its a great distraction. 

3. Liverpool

I was carrying a tear in my quad. Doing this marathon was dumb. First thing I learnt! 

2nd thing I learnt – June is WAY too hot for a marathon, I am a spring/autumn runner and the heat just zapped me, I ended up running in just a sports bra at times. 

Clif shot blocks worked well but after a while I found I craved something salty, crisps will be packed this year! 

Being a slower runner doing a race with such a tight cut off – not advisable. It meant to a stressed last few miles which isn’t much fun really! 

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Note the cheap hoodie brought from the charity shop that I chucked away when I was warm!

So from all that what SHOULD I know about this years Brighton?

Don’t go out too hard, stick to my planned pace … NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU FEEL HAYLEY!

Fuel regularly even if you don’t feel like you need it, hitting a wall is not nice.

Enjoy the out and back sections. Look for people you know.

Respect the hills. There are more of them in Brighton than you realise.

Disposable layers are great, its often cold in the morning but once you get going and the day warms up suddenly that long sleeve layer is a pain being strung around your waist, buy something cheap you don’t mind ditching with a marshall.

Plan your hydration strategy. Are you carrying water and sports drinks? Or are you relying on the on course providers? Do you have a back up if that gatorade doesn’t work so well for you?

Ultimately 26.2 miles isn’t a distance you can just get up and run, well most people can’t. It should be respected.

 

 

Choosing a marathon training plan

When I ran the Brighton marathon in 2015 I signed up there and then to the 2016 race. Sadly due to last years injury I had to defer my place until 2017. The trouble is in that time I have become a total gym bunny and not a runner anymore! Well I don’t FEEL like a runner!

I had been torn over if I was going to take part in the 2017 marathon but after some thinking I realised I had unfinished business with the race. I didn’t get the time I wanted last time. I wasn’t far off it but it wasn’t what I wanted. So I’m going at it again!

Choosing a training plan has always been a conundrum for me. I know from training for Man V Mountain that I don’t like plans based on time. I’m a slow runner, I don’t cover the same distance that ‘average’ runners do. I knew I wanted a plan that was based on 3-4 runs a week and no more, I did a 4-5 run a week training plan for my first marathon. I was overtrained and from the start of the marathon sluggish and tired muscles. When I did Brighton and had done 3 runs a week I started the race much fresher and felt good for longer!

So after spending ages googling different marathon training plans and after lots of recommendations from people to give My Asics a go I decided I’d try it again. I started one of their plans for one of my previous events but didn’t like the pace it set. I’m still not a fan but I’ve decided to turn a blind eye for the pace recommendations other than for the long run.

I like that its broken down into stages and it also has a ‘preconditioning’ phase which is where it is currently at. I assume this is simply getting me ready to start upping my distance. Managed a nice ‘gentle jog’ of 4.5 miles this morning. It felt quite good but I know I’ve got a long way to go before I get there.

According to the plan I have another 85 runs, 447.7 miles and 21 weeks to go. EEK!

How do you choose your training plans?